A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. – Second Amendment as passed by Congress
The discussion of Gun Rights, specifically that of owning assault rifles, has become a major hot topic recently. The right to gun ownership, and the types of guns that can be owned, has been debated in this country endlessly. There are obviously countless viewpoints to this discussion, but as far as I have been able to discern, they all can be broken down into three separate schools of thought. There are those that believe gun ownership is a privilege, those that believe it is an obligation, and other that strictly believe them to be an unneeded nuisance.
For the sake of this article I am going to try, mind you try, to stay unbiased with my chosen words and meanings, but my opinionated overtone may well come out anyhow so please forgive. In all honesty, all three camps have great points to their arguments and terrible ones as well. So all I am going to attempt to do is outline what I view as the best and worst to each. In this manner, perhaps a discussion can begin where we all don’t automatically draw a line and choose our sides blindly. Knee jerk reactions help nothing when trying to make an educated and reasonable assessment, and one that is, and has been so vital to the American way of life.
Gun Rights Viewed As a Privilege
The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose. – James Earl Jones
There are those who believe citizens should have the right to own guns, but that right is a privilege, and the trust to do so has to be earned. In other words, if you have stayed of out trouble, and show no signs of mental anguish, distress, or of it being unfit, than you should be granted the privilege of being able to own a firearm. Essentially, you have to earn the right.
Pros: Gun rights as an earned privilege would do well to try and keep weapons out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them. Stricter background checks, prolonged waiting periods for receiving the weapon, and so on would obviously help in reducing the number of people who shouldn’t have a gun. This also helps to keep a closer check on those that do own weapons, since there will be fewer owners overall.
Cons: Who exactly determines who is unfit and unable to own a firearm? No doubt laws would be set in place as they have been, but as we know, many laws at times certainly don’t favor everyone. Meanwhile, the largest argument that is continually raised against restrictions on guns is that the sole reason we have the right to bear arms is to ensure none of our other rights are infringed upon. Our second amendment right, essentially, is the guardian of all the others.
Gun Rights Viewed As an Obligation
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin
Then there are those that feel every American has a natural born, God-given right to own a gun. Some call them gun nuts, others call them patriots. Either way, they stand firm on the belief that every citizen should be armed, and any question of gun restriction should be, and often is, scoffed at.
Pros: You cannot help but feel Benjamin Franklin’s words as they strike right at the heart of this matter. Where if inch by inch, our rights are slowly taken away, in the end we’ll have nothing left. And whether people care or not, they are. Take for instance the Patriot Act that we passed a midst our mourning after the event of 9/11. Those that view gun ownership as an obligation feel very strongly that it is indeed the only protector of our other rights, and therefore can never be given up.
Cons: We live in a time when even if the government decided to enslave us, any guns we have access to could do little to help us. Even an AK-47 will do little to nothing when compared to the might of our military. So though the argument is certainly a romantic one, it doesn’t hold up anymore. If you need proof, look at the recent Iraq war. Where America claimed victory in a matter of days, and Iraq indeed did have a military. Much more than a few AKs and Bushmasters.
Gun Rights Viewed As a Nuisance
“The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure”. –Lyndon B. Johnson
Finally there are those that feel there is absolutely no need for firearms whatsoever, and no citizen should be in need of owning a handgun or assault rifle. Most would say that for hunting purposes, shotguns and long rifles can be used. But overall, guns are nothing short of a nuisance.
Pros: With no one able to own a firearm, deaths related to guns would certainly decrease. There would be no more mass shootings, or other heinous crimes being committed. Violence and perhaps our perception of how violence is “sexy” would most likely change, bringing about a new way of thought.
Cons: Even if guns were outlawed, you would still have the people who wanted to harm others. If they didn’t do so with a gun, try and consider how else they would do it. Homemade bombs, knives, blunt weapons, even using chemical means such as cyanide like the cult Aum Shinrikyo did on the Japanese subway. Removing guns from the picture does nothing to reduce the number of crazies there are in the world, and if you take one means of destruction away, well human ingenuity will overcome and create another. Point being, there are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil, to one who strikes at the root. If you really want to make the world safer, rather than focusing on how people kill each other, perhaps try and understand why, and correct that.
Guest Author: Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on Twitter @FacePalmLaw. The law is often a tricky course to navigate, and if you are in need of a Colorado Truck Accident Attorney, it would behoove you to find the best Colorado has to offer.